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The Future of Trust & Safety: A Guide for Marketplaces and Digital Platforms

Updated: Mar 29, 2023


The rise of online marketplaces and digital platforms has brought with it new opportunities for buyers and sellers alike. However, this has also led to an increase in fraudulent activities such as fake reviews, counterfeit products, and scams. As a result, trust & safety have become crucial factors in the success of any online platform.

Currently, many marketplaces and digital platforms rely on reactive measures such as user reporting and manual reviews to address trust & safety issues. While these measures can be effective to an extent, they're not scalable and can be time-consuming. As a result, many marketplaces are turning to more proactive approaches that use technology to identify and prevent fraudulent activities before they occur.

However, one of the biggest challenges facing online platforms is the lack of standardization when it comes to trust & safety practices. Each platform has its own system and approach, which can lead to confusion for users and make it difficult to build trust. As we look to the future, standardization may become increasingly important to ensure that users can trust online platforms. In this blog, we’ll explore the future of trust & safety for online marketplaces and digital platforms, including the challenges facing these platforms, the current state of trust & safety practices, and the potential solutions that could shape the future.


Emerging Trends in Trust & Safety for 2023

In 2023, we can expect to see several emerging trends that will shape the future of trust & safety in online platforms. One of the most significant trends will be the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) to detect and prevent fraudulent activities. AI-powered fraud detection systems can analyze large amounts of data in real time, identify patterns, and flag potential fraudulent activities.

Another emerging trend will be the growing importance of user-generated content moderation. User-generated content, such as reviews and comments, can be a powerful tool for building trust and credibility. However, it can also be a source of fraudulent activities such as fake reviews. Platforms will need to invest in more sophisticated moderation systems that can detect and remove fraudulent content while still allowing legitimate user-generated content to remain.

Finally, we can expect to see the increased use of blockchain technology in ensuring security and transparency. Blockchain technology can provide a secure and transparent record of transactions, which can help build trust between buyers and sellers. Additionally, blockchain technology can be used to verify user identities and prevent fraudulent activities such as account takeovers.


The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Trust & Safety

As mentioned earlier, AI-powered fraud detection systems will play an increasingly important role in the future of trust & safety. These systems can analyze large amounts of data quickly and uncover potential risks. This can help platforms detect and prevent fraudulent activities before they occur, which can improve trust & safety for users.

However, these systems are not without their challenges. One of the biggest problems is ensuring they’re accurate and don't flag legitimate transactions as fraudulent. This can be a delicate balancing act, as platforms need to prevent fraud without creating unnecessary friction for legitimate users.

Additionally, there are concerns about the ethical implications of using AI for trust & safety. For example, some worry that AI-powered systems could lead to discriminatory practices or privacy violations. As we move toward the future, it will be important to address these concerns and ensure that AI is used responsibly.


Eight Proven Strategies for Improving Trust & Safety for Marketplaces and Digital Platforms

So, what can platforms do to improve trust & safety for their users? Several strategies can be effective:


1. Implement proactive measures

By investing in proactive measures such as software and tools that can detect and prevent fraudulent activities before they occur, marketplaces can set them up for success. This can help reduce the burden on users to report fraudulent activities and can improve the overall user experience.

2. Provide transparency

Platforms should be transparent about their trust & safety practices, including how they detect and prevent fraudulent activities. This can help build trust with users and create a better user experience overall.

3. Invest in user education

It’s a good idea for platforms to educate their users about trust & safety best practices. This can include providing resources on how to identify and report fraudulent activities, as well as tips for staying safe online.

4. Establish clear policies

Platforms should establish clear policies around trust & safety, including what is and isn't allowed on the platform. This can help prevent fraudulent activities and create a safer marketplace for users.

5. Verify user identities

Platforms should verify user identities to prevent fraudulent activities such as account takeovers. This can include requiring users to provide government-issued identification or using biometric authentication methods.

6. Monitor user behavior

Monitoring user behavior for signs of fraudulent activities such as unusual login patterns or large transactions is another great tactic to stop fraud from occurring. This can help detect and prevent fraudulent activities before they occur.

7. Use encryption

Implementing encryption to protect user data and prevent unauthorized access can be beneficial for marketplaces. This can help prevent data breaches and protect users from identity theft.

8. Provide fraud protection

A growing best practice is for platforms to provide fraud protection to users, such as chargeback protection or insurance for purchases. This can help protect users from financial losses due to fraudulent activities.


The Role of User-Generated Content in Building Trust & Safety

User-generated content can be a powerful tool for building trust & safety in online platforms. Reviews, comments, and other user-generated content can provide valuable information to buyers and help them make informed decisions. However, it can also be a source of fraudulent activities such as fake reviews.

To build trust & safety through user-generated content, platforms should invest in more sophisticated moderation systems that can detect and remove fraudulent content while still allowing legitimate user-generated content to remain. Additionally, platforms should provide transparency around their moderation practices, including how they detect and prevent fraudulent content.


The Legal and Regulatory Landscape of Trust & Safety- Don’t go it Alone!

The legal and regulatory landscape around trust and safety is constantly evolving. Platforms need to be aware of the latest regulations and ensure that they comply. Additionally, platforms should consider implementing their own policies and procedures around trust & safety, even if they are not required by law. This can help build trust with users and create a safer marketplace.

There’s no doubt that this is a complex matter that has enormous implications if you don’t get it right. So why go it alone? The 2023 Marketplace Risk Management Conference (May 16-18, San Francisco), presented by Incognia and Sittercity, is designed to address your trust & safety concerns by giving you direct access to experts who have already solved the challenges you face.


Here are 6 trust & safety sessions featured at this year’s conference:

  1. Trust & Safety Lessons from Different Platform Perspectives, Presented by: Mike Wilkins, Sr. Director, Trust & Safety, Turo; Jennifer Kelly, Senior Director, Seller Verification & Financial Crime Ops, Etsy; Eric Timmreck, Head of Trust & Safety, OfferUp; Sujata Mukherjee, Head of Research, Trust & Safety, Google

  2. The Importance of Supply-Side Trust: Industry Perspectives and Strategies, Presented by: Megan Poonolly, Head of Trust & Transparency, Play and Android, Google; Abhay Antony, Head of Trust & Safety, Proactive & Policy, Thumbtack; Vishal Kapoor, Director of Product, Shipt

  3. He Said, She Said - Responding to and Resolving Safety Incidents and Marketplace Disputes, Presented by: Sarah Schol; Scott Cannon; Jessica Ballard

  4. Building Trust and Safety with a Best-in-Class Digital Experience, Presented by: Tracey Lazos, Sr. Director, Market Strategy, TransUnion; Chris Horne, Director Trust and Safety Investigations and Intelligence, Upwork; Cathleen Gwaltney, Sr. Manager, Trust & Safety, eharmony

  5. Developing Trust & Safety Policies and Processes that Work, Presented by: Megan Poonolly, Head of Trust & Transparency, Play and Android, Google; Shannon Scott, Director of Trust & Safety, DonorsChoose; Jessica Ballard, VP, Risk & Claims, Outdoorsy; Alex Feerst, Chief Executive Officer, Murmuration Labs

  6. Trust & Safety Collaboration with Different Departments, Presented by: Priya Chandrasekaran, Fraud Strategy, Unit21; Rishi Bhalerao, Chief Operating Officer, Sittercity; Sujata Mukherjee, Head of Global Research, Trust & Safety, Google

The Future of Identity Verification and Authentication

Identity verification and authentication will continue to be crucial for trust & safety for marketplaces online platforms. As we move towards the future, we can expect to see the increased use of biometric authentication methods such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning. Additionally, blockchain technology can be used to verify user identities and prevent fraudulent activities such as account takeovers.


Conclusion: Preparing for the Future of Trust & Safety in Digital Platforms

Platforms should invest in AI-powered fraud detection systems, sophisticated content moderation systems, and encryption to protect user data. Additionally, platforms should prioritize user education, transparency, and clear policies around trust & safety. Marketplace founders, operators, and experts shouldn’t take trust & safety lightly. The solution is a combination of technology and processes and it’s best to consult experts in this constantly evolving field. By taking these steps, platforms can build trust with users and create a safer, more transparent marketplace for all. Connect with the brightest minds and leading vendors in trust & safety in the industry today at the 2023 Marketplace Risk Conference, register here.


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